The U.S. Team Looks Different. But it Sounds Different, Too.
There is some speculation that the U.S. squad that is ranked No. 18 in the world is not as good as the one you saw at the U-19 Worlds, but I don’t think that’s the case. The Americans have been playing some very good soccer this season. They could be the best team in the country this year if they can continue to put together a string of clean sheets.
Not only have the Americans been undefeated this season, they have also only allowed a total of 2 goals in 12 games. That is phenomenal. Their success isn’t necessarily down to their talent, though they are strong enough to put up a fight. The team they face in this match is definitely one deserving of the No. 18 spot. They have played some very good matches against some very good teams this season. That’s not to say they’ve done much against the world’s best.
This season, the squad has put up a record of 13 wins, 7 losses and 2 draws. Their 1-5 win record against teams they are currently ranked No. 1 or No. 2 behind is a testament to how good they have been this season.
While this team has been doing well, they don’t quite have their top-tier players as everyone expected. This season saw the departure of two of the team’s biggest goalscorers, Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie, and the emergence of two youngsters that will be a major factor for the development of the team.
The emergence of Nick DeLeon and John Brooks is a testament to all the work the program has put in since the departure of Pulisic and McKennie. Brooks, who arrived at Maryland in the summer of 2016, has been in the making since day one. A lot of the credit of him being able to make it to the team as a freshman comes from DeLeon. He is a very talented player, and I have written about him before.
With DeLeon, the program got a player that they could develop into not only a quality player, but a player that could potentially be a major factor in the program’s ability to remain consistently competitive